Business is Booming

April 16, 2009

That’s a rare headline these days.   However, it’s the reality for many libraries in our country.  It’s been the subject of quite a few national news stories.  They are conveniently gathered and available for viewing at the American Library Association’s web site press page.

I can vouch for it here in Fort Atkinson.  We’ve been extremely busy.  We’ve seen an increase of over 12 percent in circulation comparing the first quarters of 2009 and 2007.  If you look at Internet usage, the increase is even more startling.  We’ve had 28% more Internet usage (measured by time spent on our Internet computers) during that same time period.  That’s some pretty incredible growth in a relatively short time period.

It’s nice to be needed.  But I really wish it wasn’t because someone lost their job or home.  I’d prefer that people use us because they wanted to learn something new rather than because of some negative major life challenge.   When times get tough, people do turn to their libraries more than ever.

So here we are.  And here we’ll be.  Regardless of whether the market is labeled bull or bear.  Regardless of the price of gold or Goldman Sachs’s viability.  Regardless of the emergence of text messaging, Twittering, or reading on a Kindle.  (Doesn’t that sentence seem a bit like I’m speaking some kind of foreign language?)

Anyway, we’ll be here because we’re all about providing access…regardless of format.

We were here during the Great Depression, during the booming years, and for all the ones somewhere in between those extremes.

It’s National Library Week.  As we celebrate, we realize we’re a reflection of our community offering a variety of resources that are not only helpful but can actually be life-changing.

We’ll be here…with something for just about everyone.

Unshelved Comic by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum

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